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Governors erupt in partisan dispute at White House

By Nedra Pickler and Steve Peoples

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:27 a.m. HST, Feb 24, 2014

WASHINGTON >> The nation's governors emerged from a meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday claiming harmony, only to immediately break into an on-camera partisan feud in front of the West Wing.

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal lashed out first, saying if Obama were serious about growing the economy he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline project and take other executive actions.

Instead, Jindal said, Obama "seems to be waving the white flag of surrender" on the economy by focusing on raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10, up from $7.25. "The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy. I think we can do better than that," Jindal said.

Jindal's statements were the kind that Republicans often make on television appearances or at partisan events. But his colleagues had been instead expressing wide agreement and appreciation for the president's time. Some of the governors began shaking their heads, and Hawaii Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie began audibly mumbling to others around him even as Jindal was speaking.

Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy took over the microphone from Jindal and responded sharply, "Wait a second, until a few moments ago we were going down a pretty cooperative road. So let me just say that we don't all agree that moving Canadian oil through the United States is necessarily the best thing for the United States economy."

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican who chairs the National Governors Association and supports Keystone, earlier said she asked Obama when the administration would decide whether to allow it and he told her there would be an answer in the next couple months.

Malloy said Jindal's "white flag statement" was the most partisan of their weekend conference and that many governors support a minimum wage increase.

"I don't know what the heck was a reference to white flag when it comes to people making $404 a week," Malloy snapped. "I mean that's the most insane statement I've ever heard."

Jindal did not the back down.

"If that's the most partisan thing he's heard all weekend, I want to make sure he hears a more partisan statement," the Louisiana governor responded. "I think we can grow the economy more if we would delay more of these Obamacare mandates."

As the news conference broke up, Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, vice chair of the governors association, called Jindal a "cheap shot artist." He made the comment to reporters as he was walking off the White House grounds.

The public dispute came after Obama addressed the group in the State Dining Room and appealed for their help to advance his economic policies that stand little chance of winning passage on Capitol Hill.

"Even when there's little appetite in Congress to move on some of these priories, on the state level you guys are governed by practical considerations," Obama told the governors during a meeting at the White House. "You want to do right by your people."

The president pressed in particular for states to act on their own to raise the minimum wage and expand access to early childhood education, two initiatives that have gained little traction in Congress since Obama first introduced them last year.

Several governors are seen as potential presidential candidates in 2016. Obama made light of the speculation about the race to replace him, saying he "enjoyed watching some of you with your eyes on higher office size up the drapes, and each other."

Not every governor met Monday with the president.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie left the NGA meeting early to attend his daughter's birthday and prepare for a budget address.

Facing multiple investigations in a political-retribution probe in New Jersey, the Republican leader also skipped a Monday news conference by the Republican Governors Association, which he leads.

Jindal shrugged off Christie's absence from the news conference, declaring that the RGA is "more important than just any one governor."

Asked about his own presidential ambitions, Jindal responded, "My honest answer is I don't know what I'm going to be doing in 2016."


Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

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serious wrote:
Mumble Mumble--that will show them!!!
on February 24,2014 | 09:24AM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Serious, you mean Mumbai, Mumbai, the capitol of Piyush Jindal's homeland -- India. After all, Piyush is an anchor baby -- his mom came to the U.S. while she was 4 mo. pregnant with Piyush, thus making her making her eligible for U.S. citizenship since her baby, when born in the U.S. will automatically be an American citizen. Pregnant Mexicans cross the border all the time to take advantage in this loophole in the law.
on February 24,2014 | 12:49PM
kuewa wrote:
Although I agree that Abercrombie should have spoken up (although there may have been some party protocol involved), I'd rather have mumble mumble than mumbo jumbo.
on February 24,2014 | 01:29PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Can you believe we have to have an emergency appropriation of hundred plus thousand dollars to send Abercrombie to this waste of time? The governors of at least a dozen states have begged off this organization because its too expensive and fruitless. But our guy loves to spend the public dollar.

Neil's got to go.

on February 24,2014 | 09:38AM
waokele wrote:
I just love you people who can't remember what it was like in this state just 3 years ago. Kids couldn't go to school full time, people didn't have full time work, couldn't get tax refund paid back on time, just a few little things like that and many more. But the only thing you know is that Neil has to go.
on February 24,2014 | 11:51AM
1local wrote:
neil borrowed money - there is no surplus - there is an unfunded health plan for government employees that is several $hundred million - taxpayers will have to pay....
on February 24,2014 | 01:25PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
You're right, waokele, Neil has to go. No question about it.
on February 24,2014 | 02:14PM
JimLoomis wrote:
Arde you deliberate;y distorting facts? Or are you simply ignorant of the facts? The NGA provides grants and refunds expenses, so the net cost to Hawaii taxpayers of Neil's attending this conference is zero. So what is it you have against Neil … REALLY??
on February 24,2014 | 03:26PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
JimLoomis, there are many things that Neil could have done better at, but attending the Nat. Gov's Assn. meeting is NOT one of them -- on that you and I agree. Moreover, in looking at the alternatives, Neil doesn't look so bad.
on February 24,2014 | 06:08PM
HanabataDays wrote:
"Bobby Jindal lashed out first, saying if Obama were serious about growing the economy he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline" -- This doesn't surprise me at all. Jindal always struck me as a Keystone Kop.
on February 24,2014 | 10:26AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
HanabataDays wrote: "Bobby Jindal lashed out first, saying if Obama were serious about growing the economy he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline" -- This doesn't surprise me at all. Jindal always struck me as a Keystone Kop.

Good thing we got our Governor here lookin' out for the needs of the little guys, you know, Matson, Monsanto, developers, construction companies and HECO.

on February 24,2014 | 12:53PM
krusha wrote:
Republican Govs such as Jindal don't give a rip about their constituents as long as he takes care of the big businesses running this country and his state into the ground.
on February 24,2014 | 10:48AM
false wrote:
That's right and give Abercrombie a brake. He has a few good jokes to share with some buddies. Leave him alone.
on February 24,2014 | 11:01AM
Skyler wrote:
The word you're after is 'break' - not brake. Unless you mean brake (stop) his re-election to Gov'nor ship of Hawaii.
on February 24,2014 | 11:50AM
false wrote:
Opps. sorry about that. I meant break. Maybe a break for 4 more years? LOL What do you think?
on February 24,2014 | 12:30PM
serious wrote:
Now, what big business is in Louisiana--gater guys? No, the reason Obama doesn't want the pipeline until after the elections is that the pipeline will CREATE JOBS--but it's in the heartland of America and that's Republican territory. HE doesn't care it's them against us!!! Politics!!!!
on February 24,2014 | 12:23PM
JimLoomis wrote:
Wow! You seriously think that the reason Obama might go against the pipeline is because it WILL create jobs?? That is just monumentally nuts!!
on February 24,2014 | 03:29PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Serious, you can't be serious about Louisiana having no industry -- Louisiana is one of the biggest oil producing states in the U.S.A. -- What state do you think the book turned movie "pelican Brief" was written about?
on February 24,2014 | 06:17PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
HanabataDays wrote: "Bobby Jindal lashed out first, saying if Obama were serious about growing the economy he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline" -- This doesn't surprise me at all. Jindal always struck me as a Keystone Kop."

Good thing we got our Governor here lookin' out for the needs of the little guys, you know, Matson, Monsanto, developers, construction companies and HECO.

on February 24,2014 | 01:19PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Piyush Jindal ("Bobby's" real and legal name) is an anchor baby (his mom came to the U.S. when she was 4 mo. pregnant with Piyush). He is no different than Mexicans who come to the U.S. while pregnant so that the kid will be an American citizen and the parents can gain citizenship through the American born kid. No wonder he wants to import jobs to a foreign country with the oil pipeline instead of promote oil industry jobs in Louisiana, an oil rich state. Gov. Abercrombie was right to interrupt Piyush's speech.
on February 24,2014 | 12:27PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
I meant that Piyush Jindal wants to export jobs to a foreign country like his native India, not import jobs to a foreign country. Piyush's family probably run call centers in Punjab, his home province.
on February 24,2014 | 12:36PM
Alohapatty wrote:
Well, his parents had greencards - they weren't illegal aliens - so not quite the same as an anchor baby. And if you read the actual story of how his parents came over, his mother was given a scholarship to LSU, which she originally declined due to pregnancy, but LSU offered her maternity leave so she would agree to attend.
on February 24,2014 | 12:50PM
Pocho wrote:
I"m uneducated in the World of Politic'n. Thanks for the lesson
on February 24,2014 | 01:07PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Pocho, you are very welcome.
on February 24,2014 | 05:57PM
mrluke wrote:
Agreed. Not too many illegals sneak over the border from India.
on February 24,2014 | 01:32PM
mrluke wrote:
And - Wasn't Barry's father in the U.S. on a student visa when he got his mother pregnant?
on February 24,2014 | 01:36PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
mrluke, it doesn't matter what Barry O's father was for 2 reasons: the most important reason is because he is the son of an American citizen mother. Thus, even if Barry O was born in Africa, he still would be a citizen because the immigration law says that even if a person is born in a foreign country, if one of his parents is an American citizen, so long as he lives in the U.S.A. for seven years before he reaches 21 yrs. old I think, although it could be 18, he will be a citizen. Second, Barry O was born in a State of the United States of America, and thus by virtue of the terms of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution automatically a U.S. citizen, irrespective of the citizenship of his parents. There was a real question about John McCain's qualifications to run for president because the U.S. Constitution says that only naturally born corn citizens are eligible to run for president, he was born on a ship that was anchored in the water, not docked, outside Panama when part of Panama was the "Canal Zone" and the Canal Zone was not a U.S. Territory. Thus, there was a question whether the Canal Zone was part of the U.S.A., and even so if where the ship McCain was born on was anchored in the jurisdictional waters of the Canal Zone. Funny, law is a very complicated thing, yet everyone thinks it's as easy as lipping off on Judge Judy.
on February 24,2014 | 05:44PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
mrluke, read my comments above, it doesn't matter of the Punjab descendant's parents were illegals, Piyush was still an anchor baby.
on February 24,2014 | 05:50PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Alohapatty, you pontificate about the law without knowing the law, as almost everyone does. I graduated from a U.S. News & World Report T-14 law school on the east coast, and thus know the law. Piyush was an anchor baby contrary to what you ignorantly say. The green cards Piyush's parents had were for student visas, and expired when their schooling expired. Hence many female foreign students in their position major in "Mrs." because if they get married to a U.S. citizen when they are students they can transform their student visas into permanent visas then ultimately into citizenship. The other way student visas transform into permanent visas are when the female student bears a child in America -- the child by virtue of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution automatically becomes a citizen. With a child as a citizen, that student visa can turn into a permanent resident visa with the citizen child as the "anchor" for permanent residency then ultimately citizenship. The only difference between an illegal alien and Piyush's parents is an illegal alien has to leave the country and apply for a permanent resident visa and a student can stay in the U.S. to apply for permanent residency then citizenship.
on February 24,2014 | 05:16PM
Alohapatty wrote:
I am pontificating about the law? I hardly think this is a debate about the law. I was questioning your term anchor baby. It is usually used when describing illegal aliens, which his parents were not. It is also used to describe a baby born in the US wit the purpose of facilitating immigration for other family members. It appears the only purpose of him being born here was so his mother could attend college, and in fact she was mindful of her pregnancy and brought it up to the University.
on February 25,2014 | 05:41AM
Annabella46 wrote:
Bobby, what does the US get out of the pipeline.? Use our land, even contaminate our land….and you know there will be leaks…and the oil gets sent to Lousiana refineries and sent OFFSHORE. Wanna bet our gas prices don't go down? The minimum wage is the same wage it was in most places, but the cost of living has sure shot up. Why should tax payers support workers who can't survive on a minimum wage when companies like Wal Mart are makaing huge profits, but not giving their workers a decent wage?
on February 24,2014 | 02:04PM
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